Beauty and the Bead Board (part 2)

Last time we talked I was lying on the cold hard ground (oh! trouble trouble trouble).  More specifically we had just called a plumber to come fix a busted pipe fitting uncovered during part 1 of the downstairs bathroom reno.  Luckily we have a friend who is a professional and he fixed us right up.  While waiting on him to arrive we went ahead and started painting and did a rough install of the bead board panels.  I had marked the back of each piece as it was cut at the store so all we had to do was mark the studs, place the appropriate panel, and nail in place (using a brad nail gun).  We opted not to use liquid nails so not to destroy the drywall underneath in case we wanted to remove the paneling down the road (in hindsight, it was such a pain to finish that I hereby decree this stuff is NEVER coming down).  This isn’t a high-moisture area like a bathroom with a shower so adhesive really wasn’t needed.  We just made sure to place lots of brads into each stud as well as along each edge.  There were a lot of gaps between our boards due to the uneven walls and not exact cuts (still, free) but it wasn’t anything I knew caulk couldn’t fix.  We just made sure to level everything out as best we could as we went along.

At the end of day one we had all the bead board hung, the paint cut in, attached the existing faucet to the new vanity, and screwed the vanity into the wall.   I took a bazillon pictures of how the faucet was connected to the old vanity top before taking it apart so I would know exactly how things went back together.  I posted this picture on instagram:

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“Progress! Looks pretty but the plumbing still doesn’t work (because Chloe chewed the p trap… It’s a good thing she’s cute)”

Oh yeah, did I mention Chloe, our youngest Boston Terrible Terrier, decided the existing p-trap was an awesome chew toy?  Ga-ross.   (good thing she’s cute!)  It turns out however that was the least of our problems 😦

On day two we attempted to hook the plumbing back up.  We had picked up a replacement p-trap for the one Chloe chewed and installed it but when we went to hook up the faucet to the water lines we COULD NOT get the ‘old’ plastic one to go on correctly.  It kept cross threading and therefore wouldn’t seal properly so when we turned the water on it was like old faithful geysering under our sink.  ::cue round two of fetal position crying::

We were all set to call the plumber back in to replace the plastic connector when Matt’s Dad stopped by to see if he could help.  After a few minutes of messing around with the connections he got it to thread correctly!  Somebody should give that guy a raise!  I can’t even begin to express the relief and gratefulness I felt for having a fully functioning sink with no leaks (p.s. every time I turn it on now I secretly fear it’s going to bust open and gush water again).

So that brings us to the finishing touches.  Matt finished rolling the walls (they are Van Courtland Blue by Benjamin Moore in case you’re wondering) and then we started on trim work.

We bought pre-primed 1″x3″ trim boards in 8′ lengths at the same time as the bead board.  Matt cut them down to the measurements I had already planned out the wall panels and then we leveled them, pre-drilled into the studs, and screwed them in.  A few of the shorter walls didn’t have studs so we ended up using the nail gun to attach them.  I wish we had done this for all the pieces because it was much easier and left much smaller holes to fill.  The last step this day was to fill all the nail holes with putty.  As least I think it was this day, it all runs together 🙂

After this I think we let it sit for a week or two.  I was really kind of wishing we had never started the project at all and dreading doing more work.  I finally got up the nerve to finish (it was pretty much a one-man-at-a-time job at this point since the bathroom is so tight) and started by sanding flush all the putty spots.  Then I wiped everything down with a damp cloth to remove all the dust.  We had already picked up some DAP paintable white caulk and I began filling in all those cracks.  I just ran a thin bead of caulk along an entire seam and then ran my finger over it to smooth it out.  I kept a damp paper towel nearby to clean my finger after each swipe.  The first few were fine and then I got to the vanity side of the wall.  In our haste and frustration with the plumbing we didn’t think to caulk & paint before we attached the vanity to the wall (and stripped out the screws).  For fear of destroying all our work with the plumbing I knew we couldn’t remove the vanity however I also couldn’t get the caulk gun into the corners beside it.

Thus ensued round three of fetal position crying (or was it four?  I can’t keep track).  I sat crouched on the ground beside the vanity, squirted caulk on my finger, and stretched to get caulk into those corners.  All the while cursing crying.  We aren’t talking normal cracks here either.  These are most uneven walls in our house which meant both sides had gaps up to a 1/4 of an inch wide.  Maybe not a lot in an accessible place but in a two-inch wide crevice this meant about an hour of ‘squirt, stretch, and spread’ (awkward).  It took me a couple of days to finish it all but in the end it was completely worth it.  The last step was painting the bead board and trim all in semi-gloss trim paint (leftover from building the house) which luckily only took one coat since we bought everything pre-primed.

After letting the paint dry I put back on the outlet covers, re-hung the hand towel holder & picture and added back accessories.

And guys, we’re in LOVE, just check it out for yourself:

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Every time we walk past this room Matt and I both can’t get over what a difference it has made.  And it almost makes us forget just how awful renovating it was.  I’m proud of the work we did no matter how many mistakes we made… and I’m glad it’s done!

One more last ‘before & after’

  

Beauty and the Bead Board (part 1)

When we first moved into our newly built home the half bathroom downstairs looked like this (minus decor):

 A boring beige oddly-shaped box with absolutely no storage.  And although you can’t tell from the pictures every.single.wall was crooked and the drywall work was sloppy at best.  Having experienced drywall work I know it’s not the easiest job but these guys were professionals.  We knew this was just about the last room of the house to be completed so my guess is they hastily threw it together and just eyeballed measurements.

That’s why less than two years after building we needed to give this guy a face-lift.  Maybe guests didn’t notice the builder issues but it was most certainly the most blah room you could imagine.  I wanted to give it some character and color, incorporate storage with a vanity, and also try to hide the sub-par construction as best I could.

I was originally thinking board and batten with dark gray/blue walls and a white vanity.  This was my inspiration:

Traditional Powder Room Design Ideas, Pictures, Remodel and Decor

via (originally from Houzz but I can’t find the exact picture)

However after some measuring we realized getting everything straight would be a nightmare.  There would be no 90 degree cuts for this room and we don’t even own a miter saw.  However after shopping online for vanities I came across this picture on Lowes’ website and was sold:

Shop Style Selections Ellenbee White Integral Single Sink Bathroom Vanity with Cultured Marble Top (Common: 31-in x 19-in; Actual: 31-in x 18.5-in) at Lowes.com

Perfect!  I loved the bead board inlay on the vanity itself and thought bead board on the walls might actually cover all the mess.  We measured our space and actually went with this vanity, the above picture’s little brother to better accommodate our space.

We also decided we like the square trim look similar to this mudroom by the House of Hepworths instead of the more traditional chair rail (also no mitered cuts needed!).

I took lots of measurements, figured out how to best cut the bead board we would need (it comes in 4’x8′ sheets) and we headed out to purchase our boards.  We ended up at Home Depot because their selection was better after selecting our boards we flagged down an employee to make all our cuts.  This is where planning and measuring come in handy – I knew exactly what size panels I needed and had him cut everything in house for me.  They have a sign that says they charge for anything after the first two cuts which I was happy to pay for (again, we have no saw) but they didn’t actually charge me (which I hear is pretty normal).  Our guy seemed a little peeved when I asked him to make all cuts (13 total) but when Matt offered to tip him afterwards he smiled and refused 🙂

So we cleared our calendars for one weekend thinking it couldn’t possibly take too long to switch out a vanity, install bead board & trim, and caulk & paint.

We were so WRONG.

Have you ever seen Renovation Realities on HGTV?  Those naive novices used to amuse me with their exaggerated drama and super bad luck during renovations.  This experience made me realize that perhaps collapsing on the floor crying and covered in covered in caulk all the while yelling at your spouse because you are so frustrated you just can’t anymore might be less staged for dramatic effective and more just plain old normal.  Not that I would know firsthand about that or anything…

There are many great video tutorials on you tube for how to remove pedestal sinks and we watched a bunch before starting.  Everybody’s experience will vary slightly but here is ours: Matt first turned all the water off at the sink faucet valves.  We next disassembled and removed the pedestal for the sink.  Ours wasn’t even bolted in and just slid out of place with a little wiggling.  I cut the caulk attaching the sink basin to the wall while Matt disconnected the faucet from the water supply lines and removed the p-trap, stuffing a rag in to block sewer gases (caution: have a towel handy because there is standing water inside the trap).  Then we unbolted the basin from the wall and removed it.

Here is where things went south.  We had a little trouble disconnecting our water supply lines because they weren’t the typical metal screws but instead some plastic version.  Soon after the basin came off (and we had removed the base board) we noticed moisture behind the drywall on the concrete slab.  Water was dripping slowly down behind the wall into the crack between the hard wood and slab. (see below)

Close up view of the drywall mess left by the ‘professionals’ grrrr.

Water is no joke in your walls.  We immediately called in Matt’s Dad to the rescue and he helped cut the drywall open until we found the culprit:

The connection was leaking between the faucet connector and the pex pipe in the wall.  We guess we must have jostled loose a not-great connection when removing the pedestal sink but this was still a very unpleasant surprise in an almost brand-new house.  The only silver lining was that this probably would have started leaking on it’s own at some point and who knows how much damage would have occurred before we discovered it. blessing in disguise.

We opted to have a friend who is a professional plumber come out and replace the fitting instead of trying to DIY it ourselves because a) the tool alone to crimp the fitting was close to $100 and b) WATER is dangerous and best left to the professionals 🙂

Thus ensued round one of fetal position crying on the floor.

… to be continued (dun dun dun)

Mulch Ado About Nothing

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As you might have seen hinted on my instagram feed… we’ve mulched!

 

We had eight cubic yards of the stuff delivered on a Friday morning and spread it on Saturday.

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This is our first time mulching since we’ve been in the house and we had no idea how much we would need.  Matt googled ‘mulch calculator’ and found one to help us estimate.  Basically you impute the area of the beds you want to mulch & how thick you want it spread and it will estimate how many yards you should order.  We had to guess on the areas of the beds since they are all weird shapes but it was close enough.

 

The most important reason for mulch was the huge bed in out backyard.  It used to look like this:

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We didn’t have them sod this area (because it was extra and who wants to mow on a hill) and instead we put down pine straw with the intention of making this a nice planted area.  However once spring kicked in the weeds (and grass) went CRAZY and started busting through the straw like it wasn’t even there.

I did some research on the best way to kill these weeds and reclaim the space.  We looked at landscape fabric but that seemed to not be worth it in the long run (it has to be replaced eventually to be effective & weeds can still grow on top).  I was hoping to go another chemical-free route, either an all-natural spray or the smothering method (cardboard & newspaper layers with mulch on top).  However the reviews I read for all-natural sprays weren’t very good (if you know of something that works let me know!) and the sheer size of the bed nixed the smothering method (didn’t have access to that much material).  So we went for weed killer.

 

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Matt it action, killing those weeds!

We got the Round-Up Weed & Grass Killer III for a few reasons.  It absorbs through the leaves so it wouldn’t hurt my nearby day lilies.  It is waterproof & people/pet safe after it dries (10 mins).  And lastly it isn’t a preventive weed killer and leaves the soil shortly which allows us to add plants this fall.

 

And here is the After:

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so much better

 

Everything looks so much cleaner and professional here now.  Just one more step towards looking like grownups live here 🙂

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We ended up leaving the pine straw and putting the mulch right on top.  My thought was it would decompose and help enrich the soil.  The landscaper that works for our builder told us pine straw was also good around the house because bugs don’t like it and it helps keep them away.  Not sure if that’s true, but I’ll trust the expert… and anything that means less bugs is great in my book!

 

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Still left to do is to clean up the grass line with an edger tool since the sod grew in all wonky.  I would also like to add some sort of edging like this to keep the grass out.  Lastly we will plant some shrubs/trees/perennials here this fall to really flesh things out.

 

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my pretty day lilies are loving it!

 

What’s new around your house?  Doing any landscaping yourself?

 

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Contented

More specifically Sherwin Williams Contented.  As is the paint we picked out for one of our guest rooms.

 

Sherwin Williams runs a 40% off sale every now and then, and we happened to see an ad that it was going on a few weekends ago.  We had been debating paint colors for the upstairs for a while and the sale made us decide to bite the bullet and pick a color.  I was sick of the builder beige anyways.  Contented is a color I have pinned a few times before and it’s a nice cool neutral (like the rest of the house) that will work well for a guest room or possible future kids room.  We went with SW Harmony Interior Acrylic Latex paint in an eggshell finish because it is a zero VOC formula (no fumes) and has extra durability/washability.

While there we also picked up a few gallons of Anew Gray for the bonus room.

 

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Supplies used (from top, clockwise): roller extension poll, i-pad/pandora (tunes are a must have!), disposable roller tray liners, cordless drill, rags, roller wand, painters tape, roller covers, 2″ angled brush, & paint cup.  See below for our reviews/recommendations!

 

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We started out by clearing the room: taking off the linens and pushing the bed to the middle of the room, removing the curtains & hardware, removing all outlet covers and light switch plates, taking down the blinds & hardware.  Luckily this room was pretty sparse so this step didn’t take long.

 

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Next we caulked/prepped a few areas that needed attention.  There was a space where the trim over the closet door didn’t meet the wall and the window had some drywall cracks that were previously hidden by the blinds.   Just make sure to use paintable caulk and wait the recommended amount of drying time before painting over it.  In this case we did everything else first and painted these areas last.  We also used a putty knife to pop off a few paint drips the builders had left.

 

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Then it was time for taping.  I used ScotchBlue Edge Lock painters tape to tape off the baseboards and any tight spaces (like the closet door trim).  This tape worked great with no seepage except in one area where I didn’t press it down firmly enough.  After testing my steadiness I decided to leave any open vertical spaces and the ceiling un-taped because I could cut right in with a clean line without the extra effort of taping off.  I used a 2″ angled brush from Wooster for this process and I looooved it.  My advice would be to get a good quality short-handled angled brush like this, tape a section off, and try your hand.  Chances are you won’t even need tape in most areas.

Here is a great cutting-in tutorial from Sherry over at Young House Love.  Seriously it could change your life ;).

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While I cut in Matt started on the next wall and rolled.  A tip here is to use an extension rod on your roller (you can even use a broom handle withe the end removed!) even with short walls as it will save your shoulders and neck from a lot of strain.  We started on different walls and moved in the same direction so we wouldn’t be in each others way.  Matt laid down a little tarp to protect the carpet from over-spray but I just did without.  I found it was easier to just be careful than to worry about a drop cloth.

 

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I also got the HANDy paint cup that has a magnet to hold your brush when not in use…. GENIUS!  No worrying about dripping, needing an extra hand, or the brush falling too far into your cup.

 

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Our pups came to supervise while we painted.  I was a little worried about them getting into stuff but they were tired from a long weekend of playing and just fell asleep under the bed.  My hearts 🙂

 

To recap, here is the room before paint…

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And after we put it back together (far from finished lol).  I switched the previous heavy blue curtains with white sheers I already had on hand for a lighter look.  Everything else will probably stay as is for a while.  However I love how just a gallon of paint and a few hours work can totally change the look of a room (goodbye beige haze!).

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Love this Emily Dickinson quote.

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And yes, the black and white blur in the bottom right is Sophie & Chloe play fighting like they do all-day-every-day.

 

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Edgy

Things just got edgy around here. Not because we did something radical or envelope pushing but because we did a little landscaping… specifically we added edging stones to all our beds (see what I did there?).

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Aren’t they pretty?

Our lawn is Bermuda grass which grows really well in our hot humid climate. Too well actually. It is pretty invasive and sends out these long ‘runners’ everywhere… Including into our mulched beds. I did realize how much it had grown in until we started edging the beds to prepare for the stones. I pulled hundreds of two/three foot long runners out of our beds that were actually growing right up under the pine straw and putting down roots.

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We edged the beds by creating a trench a few inches wide around the perimeter of the beds using an edging tool. Then we added back a little dirt and some sand to level out the trench. Sand is key here in getting your stones to lay even, it is way easier to play with than dirt. We just used all purpose sand from the outdoor section of lowes. For our all of our beds it took about 2 1/2 bags.

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Our yard and mulch bed in front of the porch actually slope downward. We chose to follow the slope of the yard and not build up a level wall here. So for this part I just ran my hand over the tops of the stones as we laid them to make sure they were at a uniform height compared to their neighbors. If there was a considerable difference in the transition between two stones I simply removed some sand underneath and wiggled it around until it became smooth. (I say ‘I’ for all these parts because I was responsible for placement of the stones while Matt did the carrying of supplies/pouring sand/heavy labor. It’s nice to have a man around ;)). All in all it took us about half a day from start to finish including a run to the store for supplies.

I love the polished look something so simple and easy gave our yard (now only if the backyard would catch up…)

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And just to keep it real here is the view beside our newly beautified yard…

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One day we will have a finished yard 🙂

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‘Falling for’ Fridays

Just a little look into the things I’m ‘falling for’ these days… July 4th style!!!

#1: This red, white, & blue cheesecake cake from Recipe Girl…

Red, White and Blue Cheesecake Cake Recipe from RecipeGirl.com

YUM… I’m a firm believer that everything is better with cheesecake!  And how cute is this twist on a 4th of July dessert?

 

#2.  These 4th of July printables from The Blissful Bee

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Visit her site through the link above to get the full-sized versions.  I especially love the flag bunting!

 

#3:  This DIY clothes pin flag wreath

Simple, cheap, & cool

 

#4: This DIY pallet wood USA map from all things DIY

How cool is this for a big open wall space like the stairwell (we have one as well).  Just find yourself some wood to re-purpose (or buy new), add a stencil & some paint (or freehand), hang and viola!  Huge cheap art!  I could easily see this done with all kinds of images/stencils, just pick whatever works for you.

 

#5:  This table design from Starfish cottage

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I love how simple this is, besides the flag you could easily use everything for multiple occasions.  And I might have a slight obsession with starfish 🙂

 

So that’s what I’m falling for this week!  What are some of the things you’re falling for?

Installing a Ceiling Fan

I have this one weird super power that I can only access while asleep.  I turn into a living space heater and emit enough radiant heat to turn our bed into a furnace.  I believe this is why I’m so cold-natured, because I give off all my warmth during my REM cycles.  (If we could harness this heat I swear our power bills would be nothing in the winter).

And all this heat means I am a miserable sleeper in the summer.   Growing up we didn’t have central air.   Summer in the south is miserable most days with no AC, not to mention unbearable at night.  I’m still not sure how we all survived (drama drama drama, I know).  I remember having a huge floor fan in my room turned on full blast and pointed pointblank at my bed.  Even on the worst nights just that rush of air movement over me was enough to eventually lull me to sleep.

We moved to a house with AC when I was in high school and I’ve lived with it ever since.  However I still think the most blissful sleep is when waves of cool air blow over me from a fan.  Up until this point in our marriage we have lived in apartments with ceiling fans.  However our new house only has overhead lights in the bedrooms.  It didn’t bother me much during the winter but as the months have gotten warmer my nights have gotten more and more restless.  Cranking the AC up didn’t help so we bit the bullet and bought a ceiling fan

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And I LOOUUURRRVVVVEEEEEEEE it.  We shopped around until we found something that fit the decor of the room (I’m working towards a white, black, & grey-blue palette with a little ‘sparkle’) and settled on the Hampton Bay Lyndhurst fan in black from Home Depot.  (I can’t find the particular color online but here is a link to it’s sister).  The black fan & blades match my leaning mirror and the crystal light shades are just beautiful.

 

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Look at the pretty light patterns they throw around the room!

 

As far as installing goes, we were first-timers (not pros!) so I won’t begin to do a step-by-step lest you follow and end up electrocuting yourself.  However there were some pointers we found helpful along the way.

1) Read the directions all the way through before starting and then read them again.  Some steps didn’t make sense in the beginning but later on in the directions they were clarified.  This way you don’t skip something that seems out of place but ends up being crucial (or second guess something and have to re-do it.  Not that I did that ;)).

2) Set all your parts out before hand to see what all you’re working with and get a cup to place all your loose hardware in.  Also go ahead and get any tools recommended out so you don’t have to keep running out for them.  We ended up using screwdrivers (both flat and Phillips head), wire strippers.

3) Have a second pair of hands.  I have heard legend of people who can install ceiling fans solo.  All I can say is you ambidextrous, incredibly flexible, super strong people must be amazing.  Most times it worked well to have one of us hold the thing while the other did the attaching/screwing/assembling.

4) Make sure your power is off… and install with plenty of daylight left.  Obviously if you are taking down an overhead light you will need another light source!  Our install took a couple of hours so time your start for plenty of daylight.  And double check that your power to the overhead box is off (at your switches) and if you’re extra paranoid you can turn power off at the breaker box.

5) Wiring isn’t that scary (or hard)!  Our instructions came with very clear directions as to which color wire went to which switch: we were pre-wired from the builder for separate light & fan switches in this room.  However some wires could be in a variety of colors, so if you don’t see exactly what the directions say it’s best to consult with someone who knows what’s going on.  In this case the wires from the box didn’t match those from the fan so we consulted Matt’s Grandpa who has lots of experience in this matter.  Worst case scenario you wire to the wrong switch, it won’t work, and you have to take it apart and try again.  (But again, I am no expert, which is why there is no tutorial to follow).

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Action shot:

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Whee!  Fan’s are awesome, and a lot easier to install yourself than you might think!

 

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